tv Your Business MSNBC November 21, 2015 2:30am-3:01am PST
sports freaks. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. >> small businesses across the city were affected which the civil unrest in baltimore. we visit one local neighborhood to find out how this small businesses here were affected and how they are working together to get people to shop local. that's coming up next on "your business." >> american express open can help you take on a new job or fill a big order or expand your office. for those who constantly find new ways to grow on every step of the joran american express open proudly presents "your business" on msnbc.
hi there everyone. i'm jj ramberg and welcome to your businesses about. the show dedicated to helping your small business grow. as a lot of us know getting customers to support our local small businesses rather than shop at big box stores can be hard sometimes. now imagine the difficulty merchants and local officials face during and after the civil unrest in baltimore earlier this year. in the highland town community folks came together and foster add shop local attitude which was the key to rebuilding and getting back to business as usual. in april 2015, all eyes were on baltimore as protests of the police mistreatment of freddie gray turned violent and riots broke out. businesses across the city were affected, either from looting, damage, or citywide curfews that
kept shoppers off the streets out of the stores. highland town a neighborhood with a large latino population and growing arts community didn't see the riots but definitely felt the effect. >> everything around here was destroyed. it was like -- >> mario, $160,000 of inventory on the night, wiping him out. destroying the business he bought in 2011 to support his family. >> can you describe for me in as much detail as you can what did it look like? >> well r, really difficult for us. it was difficult. i never think something like that could happen. >> a couple of blocks over, deepak, an italian market and restaurant popular with locals and visitors saw business drop
significantly for weeks after the riot. >> a lot of people come from out of town and didn't know, though we were in a safe area away from the direct unrest, they were just thinking baltimore city and they weren't coming. they didn't care where we were in baltimore city, didn't matter. >> for small business owner who is count on the business to keep their companies alive this was a scary time. >> we're a restaurant. our base of customers serve. we can't serve a customer if we're closed. unfortunately we were closed early. so a lot of my business went away because of it. >> the beginning i feel alone. i didn't know how i going to do it. i just know we somehow we were going to try to do it again. >> mario learned he wasn't going to have to do it alone. amanda is a main street manager at the southeast community development corporation. as soon as she saw the local highland town small businesses
being affected by the civil unrest she went into high gear. >> often when people go through hard things together they come together. >> did you experience any of that after the civil unrest with the business owners? >> definitely. we really created wonderful relationships with our business owners, with community members who cleaned up, for the business owners, we were helping them file paperwork, clean up glass, and get estimates and whatever they needed we were a phone call away. i gave out my cell phone number. texted and made sure they were all right. >> the community bonded and helped those who needed it. >> i can't say i knew half of the businesses and the people that ran them and operated them and worked in them before that happened. all of a sudden we were in those stores picking up glass and picking up shoe boxes and cash registers that had been overturned. >> some people probably never walked in before but they came in and they tried to buy something to support us. that is the really wonderful
thing. >> thank god for the local customers kept us going through the down time. they spread the word, social media, and i'm here now. and kind of eventually it becomes a little more in the minds a little more safe. secure. >> now, months after the civil unrest, building a strong local network continues to be key to this main street success. a baker owns highland town gallery where she features the work of talented local artists. she found being an active member of the community is an investment back in her business and helps everyone on the main street. >> when i go to these different events i'm meeting people from various different businesses, various different organizations, and i'm building relationships. and then opportunities sometimes come from those relationships. >> networking. >> exactly. >> the town featured one of these, a chicken dinner hosted
by main street to get more face time with locals who are all potential customers and to give back. >> they offer helps me bring my name out, helps to bring the brand out to the people. i love to be part of it no matter what they have. it's nothing but good. >> it's that strength of the business community that kevin, who recently opened an antique store here, is counting on. >> we all fill a niche that needs to be filled and we're playing off of each other. good people that come from out of town to visit us, but our bread and butter and regular customers are going to be who lives down the street or angie a couple blocks away. >> knocked down by events outside their control, the businesses of highland town main street learned an important lesson. there is strength in numbers. >> it took a little bit of time to get over the bump and now we're doing really well and everybody is really positive and coming together and coming back out. i've been proud to see our
neighborhood work so hard, have people come back together and keep moving on. it's business as usual. >> the shop local movement isn't just about getting consumers in. local businesses need customers to shop online this holiday season too. for the owners of a new hampshire online registry, the goal is to get customers to log on to support community businesses and shop local year-round. when allison and her husband got engaged they knew they didn't want a traditional wedding registry. >> we wanted to support our community with gifts from our guests, so we went to our favorite kitchen shop, things are cooking, we want more out of the box things. we put it together in a google doc. >> allison decided to start a company that made the process simple. nearby registry. it's a give registry and wish
list service for people who like her wanted to list products and services from unique local companies, not just the big box stores and national chains. currently, nearby works in new hampshire and seattle and only lists local independently owned businesses. >> we don't look at it as competing against the big box, we look at it as you know, supporting another part of what people want. >> here's how it works. companies pay a start-up fee to be listed and then transaction fees. customers can then add items from these stores to their registry. it's attracting customers who care about shopping small. >> i think it's so much more about who we are than just a set of plates from a big box store would be. this is about with what we do and what we value. >> so, how did allison get businesses to sign on? she teamed up with organizations that have a similar local mind-set. >> the local shopping movement is a thing, it's real but it's been around forof.
and there are local business groups from chambers to local first movements, shop local movements. >> for some of the billses it's a way to modernize their registry system. for others it's a way to start having a registry offering in the first place. >> people are so used to buying on line, amazon and various big registries which are great but this is sort of this great way of shopping online locally but across lots of different stores. >> that part of nearby's future growth lies in changing the definition of local to mean much more than the mom and pop stores down the street. >> our site was built with the idea that it would be nationwide. we see a lot of opportunities for sales across country. >> they are getting customers to think local no matter where you consider home. that's why tom holbrook, one of the owners of community owned river run book store in portsmouth used nearby as not only a way to reach residents
but a way to get tourists in the door. >> we have a lot of customers here seasonally or stop by for a week and they like the store and nearby allows them to shop an area they are unfamiliar with, but make local choices. >> i think independent businesses will remain unique, because not just because of the services and products they offer but also because of who they are. they are your next door neighbor who owns the shop and you know, you go in and you meet the owner, the owner is working there and it has a different feel. it has a different service. people will always shop local. people know they get things differently the way they make purchases, where they spend their money. i think things have changed and will continue to change. >> you know you're doing something right in your company if your customers love your business. so ourext guest has several ideas to help you create those fans. peter is the founder and ceo of the geek factory.
and he's also author of the book "zom bibeloyalists." great to see you. >> good to be back. >> this is what we all want. we want people who love our company, tell their friends about us, keep coming back. so, i want to hear what you've got to say. >> never more so than now, people who love your company are going to bring in people who want to love your company. social really share 24 hours a day everything we do almost automatically. with the intent and the sentiment of your tweets and instagram action people know i should shop there because this person is balls i trust that over an advertisement. nobody believes how great you are if you are the one that has to tell them. >> so you talk in the first point about knowing that people have a problem. which we talk a lot about here. >> you look at a customer interaction, you have a problem. if i go on united.com, i need to get somewhere and i want to take a plane to do that. if i go to a restaurant, what's
my problem, i'm hungry. i want to eat. if you look at every customer who walks in as a problem that you can solve right there you are saying to them i'm going to take care of you. and you're not going to be alone. >> number 2, treat people like human beings. should be obvious. >> it should be but the last experience on a plane or had at a dry-cleaners or something like that. they don't do that. customer service seems to have gone by the wayside. i don't tell my clients or audience to be amazing. i tell them to be better than what we expect. if the bar is that low it's not that hard. a simple smile, a hand shake, looking someone in the eye when you talk to them. actually focusing on them for five seconds as opposed to better viewing them for the next customer. those tiny things make a world of difference. getting insight. if you listen you learn so much that you can use simple trick of mimicking what they do. they talk with their hands talk with their handings. poker players love this. making them feel more comfortable. i feel okay here.
let's spend some money. >> my mother when she was starting her business always told us when we were making these cold calls to use the direct address as much as you can. >> no question. >> also if you treat people well. >> no question. again we don't expect great service so anything above the norm is going to get people. wow, this is really good. think about the internet. runs on two things, bragging and drama. you have a problem, my god, i hate this company. a great experience, ork my god, this company is amazing. that's it. >> incredible i inevery do customer reviews but i had such a good experience with someone yesterday and they said put up a yelp and i did it. >> the interesting thing is that yelp isn't going to matter. because it's not about people i don't know. if i didn't know you, your review wouldn't matter. if i'm a dad of a 2-year-old which means i want to buy everything for my daughter so. who am i looking at. my other dad friends. i'm looking at the photos. look, that's the new batman lego plus. i got to get that.
that's what we're seeing. it's not about the reviews, it's people in our network, as the network grows. >> i agree but the point i was trying to make is that this -- >> motivated you to do it. >> i wanted to talk about it. the extra step to write a review which i never do. >> imagine the extra step being easy. that's where we're going with the network where it's not going to matter. the act of having a great experience, when i land in san francisco and show me steak houses, google maps shows me first of people in my network who have gone there and enjoyed them. so right there i trust that one because jonathan went there or michelle. let's eat there. versus reviews where i -- from people i don't know. the simple act of giving a little more and having a positive sentiment or review that's going to drive. >> this is a little depressing your last point which is and you said it before but just a little bit more. the bar is relatively low. >> it's so scary how low the bar is. when i give these speeches i ask, or post on twitter, hey,
you know, how was your last flight? someone will say great. what made it zblaet showed up on time. landed on time. they basically did what they promised and nothing more and you're over the moon. what does that tell you. the little extra, a company called scratch labs, they make energy nutrition products for runners. i live by their products. great for training. every time i order from their website they throw in three or four samples of new products. no cost, nothing. hey, you are a loyal customer. thanks so much from scratch lab. every time. that right there tells me they are actually caring and it's not just oh, you're a new customer do it once. that tells me they care, they want my business over and over. can't tell you how many people i recommend their products. >> so great to see you. wish we could talk for another hour. >> you know, i don't feel any obligation to talk to me for the next hour. >> good to see you. >> thank you.
the holidays are coming up and more customers are making more purchases online. this probably means you'll get more deliveries and sending more product out to customers. so, here now are five strategies you can use right now to help reduce your shipping expenses courtesy of entrepreneur.com. one, establish a relationship with your preferred carrier's service representative. they handle rates and answer questions so knowing who they are helps. two, negotiate shipping rates. companies will often provide incentives to secure you as an account, all need do is ask. but make sure to price compare too. three, use their equipment. depending on your volume many carriers will provide software and tools for you to use free of charge. four, consolidate accounts. since shipping rates are often based on volume it will benefit you to ship as much as possible on your account. consider asking vendors to ship through your account as tweel
keep your numbers up. five, seek out shipping refunds. if the company that you're using doesn't meet its guarantees, you are entitled to a refund. you can claim these with package auditing companies such as refund tiger and recover any money lost. >> the clock is ticking on new affordable care act requirements for businesses with 50 to 99 full time employees. starting on january 1, 2016, businesses must offer the government definition of affordable medical information to eligible employees and their dependents or face penalties. with us to sort out all of the new requirements for owners is david lewis, the president and ceo and founder of operations ifrpg, a human resources consulting firm. >> good to see you. >> you think most know what is coming or are people going to be surprise bid this? >> it's scary but i don't think enough people know that it's coming. >> so then i'm glad you are here to explain to us. let's take the position that i am an employee -- employer, i've
got 60 employees, i don't offer affordable medical information. what do i do? >> i think have have to get an insurance broker and start exploring your optionings. look at healthcare.gov but it may not give you the best options so i think you've got to keep all of your paths open. and then have to start learning and understanding what exactly affordable care means. there is a term called a bronze level plan which is essentially the minimum requirement plan. and that's really what most business who is haven't offered insurance before are going to migrate to. you'll start learning what that looks like, how much it's going to cost you, how much you as an own ver to pay versus how much the employee. >> i could go to my broker and say don't show me anything that doesn't fit the requirements, right. >> until you see the numbers and you get sticker shock and realize this is a cost you never incurred and now you are. you start asking a lot of questions how can we manage this down further. so i think that yes, you can go and say listen, we want to comply. show us that plan. what you're going to see is you're going to see businesses
who say okay, we can't afford that. what are our other options. there is another path. the other path is get essentially a plan that doesn't meet that minimum requirement, but at least gives your employees some insurance because you want to go that route, but then still has you paying a penalty. and the combination of the cost of the insurance plus the penalty is less than the cost of the affordable care that you are required to offer. >> so maybe you need to look at more than just costs and also look at what am i offering as a benefit to my employees. >> and look at the job market too. are you going to be competitive operation in this job market that's hot right now, when you are a company who tells candidates we're a great place to work but we don't offer benefits. >> back to being the employer with 60 employees. it is november now. is it too late? can i get this up and running by january? >> you can get this up and running by january. it's going to be a lot of jumping through hoops for your vendor and for you so you need to be sure you give it the appropriate level of time. but yeah, you could go all the
way up to probably the 20th of december and still have a plan in place by january 1. >> thank you for coming on and reminding us all at the least i hope everyone talks to their insurance broker. thank you. and stick around because when we come back, david is joined by slava ruben to talk about what to do when a former employee slams you on social media. this is more than just a town. this is our home. and small business saturday... is more than just a day. it's our day... to shop small at the places we love... with the people we love. for stuff we can't get anywhere else. and food that tastes like home. because the money we spend here... can help keep our town growing. on small business saturday, let's all shop small. for the neighborhood,
the town, the home we love. on november 28th, shop small. this week's your biz selfie from the brat shop in zion, illinois. their catering we hear does great barbecue. pick up a sell phone and take a picture of you and your business and send it to us or tweet to the@msnbcyourbiz and don't forget to use the #your bitz selfie. time to answer some of your business questions. so let's get our board of directors in to help. david lewis is back once again and slava rubin is joining us as well, the co-founder and ceo of the largest crowd funding platform. great to see you. a new father. congratulations. >> yes, thanks for having me.
>> let's get into the questions. the first one is about a potential drawback of social media. >> how would we handle a disgruntled employee's tarnishing the company's reputation on social media? and the time it would consume trying to mitigate that. >> you know, we never talked about this on the show. we talk about your customers but okay, you are an employee who is talking about you. >> be very careful what you do here. because there's freedom of speech issues, there are things tied to the national labor relations board about concerted activity. so in essence, if it's something that they are talking about that is proprietary in nature act on the basis of your proprietary or intellectual rights. if it's opinion based move on. there is not a lot you can do that is constructive or that is necessarily going to be legal. >> what do you think? >> yeah, i have to agree with
some of that. building on top of it i would say if it's random trolling comments i would probably stay away from it. if they are trying to establish some facts that seem to put your company up der, it's important to have responses. you don't have to directly respond to the commenter but rather so the future readers, this is going to be archived a long time, understand what the company has to say. there's also organizations that can help in regards to this management of reputation. and that is a potential as well. >> sounds like you deal with it in many ways the same way as you would a customer. right. so as you are saying if it's random trolling comments don't respond. but if it's something where it's going to undermine you, you should respond. >> and i think slava, the key word there is opinion. it's when it's opinion based, and it just is more about disgruntled employee, one thing. when it's opinion based but starts to attack the business and there is constructive way to
respond you repair your reputation i agree. >> let's move on to the next one about finances. >> when should business owners think about debt and versus equity. a lot of times our culture encourages business owners to think about venture capital. we applaud everyone that ratzs lots of money but is that necessarily the right thing for all businesses? >> slava, how did you think about this? >> i mean, trying to raise money is not the right idea for all businesses. i think it's really important to understand what kind of assets you have and what kind of growth rate you're trying to accomplish. i do think often taking a loan or some sort of debt can be smart especially if you have assets and are looking for a slower growth rate. looking to get venture capital is a big undertaking and i don't think that needs to be the holy grail. on a side note it's going to be exciting now that the jobs act has been signed. there will be an opportunity for equity crowd funding how to raise capital. >> what do you think?
>> i think it's a matter of control and responsibility. if you are willing to have other people essentially be involved in your business through private equity and you need money and that's basically your best path, then i think it makes sense but you have to realize you have other people to answer to. you take the debt on yourself and get a loan on your own you still have 100% control. you obviously have to pay that debt off but it's a different experience entirely. >> he talks about venture capital but we could say the same about angel investors, should you get debt, and one of the questions there is can you get debt? >> i think a lot of this comes down to how much money you need and what exactly your goals or objectives are. and by going out and getting private equity money that usually is going to be a lot larger sum of money than perhaps you can secure on your own. >> sure. that's private equity which is another world, right. in the beginning slava, if you are thinking about angel investors or debt would you take debt if you could and only go to angels if you couldn't get debt? >> it all depends on the amount
of money. if we're talking about tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands it would be nice to try to get a friends and family loan or small business loan. really the value of once you get into angels and vc's i hope you're getting more than the money. you are trying to get mentorship, connections, you're getting openings into distribution, able to sell better because like the other commenter said, you're now getting somebody involved in your business and you need to be ready and prepared for that. >> exactly. these people don't go away. you are now married to them. the last question is about staying on top of trends as you grow. >> how do we find what other industry people in our industry are doing? >> one of the traps you can get caught into is just trying to copy and replicate what other people are doing. it's really hard to get ahead when that's your nature. that said, it's really important to understand the competitive environment and the innovations happening around you. i think it's always critical to evaluate the other sites or
businesses, use them, test them, work with them, ask your friends and others to evaluate them and be evaluating things on google. you have google alerts, a search, see what are customers and others feedback around the industry. sometimes there could be industry reports that will give uf trends. >> what i think is a tricky about this is sometimes a new company launches and there is all of this fanfare, all of this press, and so it seems like this is something everybody wants, and i've seen this happen a few months later, it fizzles out. and so if you as someone who has been in the industry followed too closely what they were doing and got jealous maybe, tried to follow them, your company may have failed as well. >> listen. i think slava is right, keep an eye on your business and you've got to focus there. then when you move on, you should always be looking around, you should always be following what your other companies are doing that are in your sector. google news is a great way to do that. signing up for their news letter maybe on a covert basis by using
an e-mail like a personal e-mail instead of your company e-mail so it doesn't get flagged to be able to keep track of things. join an industry association. where you're going to come in contact with other people in the industry. following just press clippings alone by a lot of companies that are in your sector are going to tell you what they are doing and you can decide whether you want to follow some of their leads or you want to keep an eye on and see if it's viable and has legs as you said. >> okay. it was great to see both of you. thank you so much. good luck with your new baby, slava. thank you for taking the time to come in and talk to us. good to see you, too, david. >> thanks for joining us. if you missed anything head over to our website, it's open forum.com/your business, we will post all of the segments plus a lot more information to help your bills grow. you can follow us on twitter. @msnbc your biz and facebook and stains gram as well. next week it is our very special small business saturday show. we come to you from golden,
colorado, a deeply proud community that enthusiastically supports small businesses. this year with a 5k race and parade and a special discount initiative. >> they can use that in any of the stores down town and gives them a percent off in the stores. >> find out what this community and others doing right to get people to shop local. till then i'm jj ramberg and remember, we make your business our business. this is more than just a town. this is our home. and small business saturday... is more than just a day. it's our day... to shop small at the places we love... with the people we love. for stuff we can't get anywhere else. and food that tastes like home. because the money we spend here... can help keep our town growing. on small business saturday,
let's all shop small. for the neighborhood, the town, the home we love. on november 28th, shop small. tonight, the u.n. security council has just passed a resolution unanimously in response to the paris attacks. this u.n. security council resolution calls on all nations of the world to quote, come back by all means the terrorist threat posed by isis and to deny isis its safe haven in iraq and syria. now, russia in recent years they made a habit of going their own way on issues like this, particularly when the word syria gets mentioned. and indeed, russia initially proposed their own resolution on this subject so there had been some question as to whether or not they might block approval at the u.n. security council of this measure or they